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January 9, 2014

Abdullah opts to return for senior year

In a joint statement with Bo Pelini Thursday afternoon, running back Ameer Abdullah announced that he will return to Nebraska next year instead of heading to the NFL.

Abdullah maintained all season long that he wasn't really considering turning pro, but said after the Gator Bowl that he would have to talk the decision over with Pelini and his family.

In the statement, Abdullah stressed the importance of finishing out his college degree and completing what he started, just as all his other siblings have done.

"While it may be true that none of my siblings were presented with the possibility of playing professional sports, it is equally true that the average NFL career, because of the violent nature of the sport, is less than five years," Abdullah said. "In analyzing these truths, I have come to realize that life is bigger than football, and that my chances of long-term success in life will be greatly enhanced by completing my college education. Although I have always wanted to play in the NFL, at this time I would like to formally announce my intentions of returning to Nebraska for my senior season.

"If playing in the NFL is truly in God's plans for me, then God will again present this opportunity to me after I complete my college education."

In his portion of the statement, Pelini said he would have supported Abdullah regardless of his decision, but he's very thankful to have his star running back return.

"We look forward to having Ameer represent the Nebraska football program for another season," Pelini said. "Ameer has the opportunity to leave a legacy at Nebraska that will put him among the all-time greats to play here. He is a young man that is deserving of being a leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy and other national awards in 2014."

Abdullah has led the Huskers in rushing in each of the past two seasons and was among the top rushers in country this year. He led the Big Ten and finished ninth in the nation with 1,690 yards while averaging six yards per carry.

Barring injuries, Abdullah has a chance to go down as one of the best backs in school history. His 2,977 rushing yards are the eighth most in school history, and he needs just 1,013 yards to pass Ahman Green for the No. 2 spot. If he gains 1,861 yards, he'll pass Mike Rozier and take the top spot.

Abdullah already has 17 100-yard rushing games (tied for third most) and needs 10 more next year to break the school record. He also has 4,914 career all-purpose yards and needs 673 to break Johnny Rodger's school record.

An All-Big Ten performer in 2013, Abdullah will enter next season as one of the top offensive players in the conference and a contender to take home the Heisman trophy.


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